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ID theft gangs turn to tax refunds

6 August 2009

ID fraudsters have turned their attention to tax refunds through stolen passwords relating to the Revenue's online self assessment system, officials warned yesterday.

HM Revenue and Customs has uncovered a series of attempted fraudulent claims through the self-assessment repayments system, at the hand of gangs who have stolen individual taxpayers' passwords and then submitted claims for tax refunds to be paid to them.

Possible methods are stealing mail advising of the passwords, finding letters in domestic rubbish or obtaining the information by deception. However the practice is different from the recent "phishing" emails purporting to advise people that they have a claim for a refund, which are designed to obtain their bank account details.

HMRC are appealing to taxpayers to ensure that their passwords are kept secure.

Over 9.5 million taxpayers are now in the self-assessment system.

The tax authority will assess liability for any losses on a case-by-case basis.

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